Lax security left the U.S. Treasury’s computer system for tracking overseas threats to America’s financial system vulnerable to hackers, according to a government audit prepared in late 2014 and obtained by Reuters.
The Treasury Foreign Intelligence Network is used by U.S. spy agencies to share top-secret information and to keep tabs on the impact of sanctions against countries such asIran and Russia, as well as militant groups like Hezbollah.
The report, prepared in September 2014, gave no indication the foreign intelligence network had been hacked. But auditors found up to 29 percent of Treasury’s devices connected to the intelligence network did not meet federal cybersecurity standards.
“As a result … devices may not be protected with the most secure recommended configurations, increasing the risk of being compromised,” the Treasury’s Office of Inspector General, or OIG, said.
A copy of the audit was obtained through a U.S. Freedom of Information Act request. A Treasury official said the OIG had identified a “minor issue on a very secure system.”
“Since the release of the audit, Treasury has remedied this matter,” the official said.
The report comes to light following the revelation of the theft by hackers of millions of U.S. government personnel files. America’s intelligence chief has said that hack was linked to China, although U.S. officials say the government does not plan to publicly blame Beijing.